Appeal date for vicar

A LOCAL vicar fighting for reinstatement after he was removed from office for having an affair with a married woman will have his appeal heard next month.

Reverend David King was banned from practising for four years following a Church of England disciplinary tribunal held in November last year – the first Church of England disciplinary tribunal of its kind.

The Chancery Court of York will sit at Leeds Combined Court Centre on Monday 10 March to hear the appeal by Rev King.

Rev King was dismissed as Vicar of Middle Esk Moor, comprising the parishes of Egton, Glaisdale, Lealholm, Goathland and Grosmont, over his relationship with mother-of four Tracy Byrne.

Last year’s tribunal concluded that the pair had a two-year relationship which “went far beyond merely holding hands or kissing”.

It found the Rev King had “pursued an improper, intimate and physical relationship with Mrs Byrne”, and that he had conducted himself in a manner unbecoming a Clerk in Holy Orders.

Mrs Byrne began divorce proceedings in December 2005 and her estranged husband, James Byrne, who has since moved to Australia, complained to the Archbishop of York.

The fact that Rev King has appealed against the penalty imposed means he has remained Vicar of Middle Esk Moor, but he has not been allowed to conduct any services as he is suspended.

If the penalty is upheld Rev King loses his position as vicar of Middle Esk Moor. He is then banned from being a priest anywhere in the Church of England for the following four years.

His appeal suspends implementation of the tribunal’s original penalty and means the parish cannot find a replacement until the appeal is determined.

The Chancery Court of York, which will hear the appeal, is the senior ecclesiastical court in the Church of England's Province of York. Its presiding judge, known as the Auditor, is The Worshipful Sheila Cameron QC. Hearings are usually conducted in public unless the court itself rules to the contrary. The Church of England disciplinary tribunal in November was held behind closed doors.